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My mother got crushed by a sperm whale when my daughter was born. My husband blubbers of flukes and heaven, how life squeezes lemonade into our eyeballs. My hangover decomposing as a sandcastle. We roam across the beach into a carnival of cumulus and fog, foam licking our ankles. My seven-year-old daughter does cartwheels toward a beached blue whale marooned between shoreline and breaker zone. Coconut crabs scurry between my daughter’s hands and feet like Roman candles. Mom hums lullabies from the blowhole of a dehydrated torpedo-shaped creature. My husband hauls ass to our boutique hotel, vanishing through the screaming fog.  

The whale cries gooey tears. Wrinkly cavalry marches through castles of cumulus—an army of elderly hungover grandparents summoned from the bulbous mist like ghosts—sunburned grandchildren waving shovels and buckets—begging the whale to endure. The whale refuses to budge. We smother Marshmallow with soaked towels. The clementine sun swells and the fog shrinks and god is nowhere to be found.

Trick-or-treating at dusk among hordes of gloomy whale rescuers with lobster sunburns, geniuses and morons stumbling toward town, lost in impossible dreams. My daughter is Barbie. We reek of salt, sweat, and the dead whale. I’m numb drunk—heavily  intoxicated according to the arrest report—’til my daughter hauls me in a goddamn Radio Flyer wagon dressed as Freddy Krueger. Obviously, my husband Ken apologizes profusely to sanctimonious parents on ketamine—shepherding vociferous children donning ghoulish and ghostly costumes—camouflaged souls bobbing for Granny Smith candy apples within labyrinthine carrousels of decorative spider webs. A carnival of fireflies makes love above an orgy of sidewalk puddles. Kaleidoscopic reflections bouncing giggles of goblins, astronauts gulp exploding stars. I vomit nonchalantly into my daughter’s pumpkin trick-or-treat pail—drowning her sugary psychedelic bounty in Cucumber Basil Lime Gimlets and Sour Apple Pucker Schnapps.

I wrestle zombie yard signs and claw jack’-o’-lanterns on rickety porch steps with my Freddy Krueger glove. I’m an abhorrent mother, a hot mess—dehydrated, putrid, woozy, seasick. My plastic pumpkin pail splashes emerald bile; my daughter waves and prays to Poseidon. I savor the salt of our tears. Doppler effect wailing from police sirens is luring me to an island. I hug my daughter’s soul frolicking in captivity—somersaulting like a dolphin through a Hula Hoop.

Convivial ritual of toilet paper festooning a sliver of lower branches in a humongous tulip tree. Shaving cream ornamenting doorknobs, organic eggs crushing against timber doors, splattering yolk, slivering shells. Significantly fewer eggs this Halloween ’cause they’re exorbitant. Saving money, frugal adolescents defecate into pumpkin trick-or-treat pails—boomeranging them across front yards blazing. Roman candles scorching empty eye sockets of jack’-o’-lanterns: an ocean of orange rapture.

The esophagus of night grows dark and deep and wet in the four-chambered stomach of a sperm whale. I listen to my mother’s lullabies oozing from the hippocampus of an eleven-year-old goblin gorging on candy corn. Baby blue eyeballs exploding beneath a fifty-eight-ton predator, a carnival of fireflies digesting into moon dust.